The National Assembly on Tuesday is set to debate a motion tabled by the Democratic Alliance to have President Jacob Zuma removed from office.
This follows last week’s Constitutional Court ruling that Zuma failed to uphold the Constitution when he did not comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action regarding payment for the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
It ruled that the National Assembly also failed to uphold the Constitution when it set aside Madonsela’s report.
Since the judgment, calls for Zuma to step down or have the ANC recall him have increased.
This is set to be an arduous week for the ruling party as it deals with the backlash following the ruling by the highest court in the land.
The party held an extended National Working Committee meeting at the President Hotel in Cape Town on Monday.
On Friday, Zuma apologised to the nation during a live address on the SABC in which he said he had not “knowingly or deliberately” violated the Constitution.
Shortly after his apology, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe expressed the party’s support for the president saying he had “humbled himself” when he apologised.
He said opposition parties’ calls to have Zuma removed were intended to tear the ANC apart, which he said would not happen.
ANC’s officials to meet parliamentary caucus
But it’s not only the opposition which have called for his removal. Some ANC stalwarts have called for Zuma to step down or be removed. They include Ahmed Kathrada, SA National Defence Union (Sandu) members as well as some ANC Gauteng members.
The day the Constitutional Court handed down judgment, the ANC’s top six officials – the president, deputy president, secretary general, deputy secretary general, treasurer and chairperson – met in Pretoria to discuss the way forward.
Before the debate on Tuesday, the ANC’s officials are expected to meet the parliamentary caucus. The party’s political committee, chaired by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, is also expected to meet.
Opposition parties – the DA, Economic Freedom Fighters, United Democratic Movement and Congress of the People – are also said to be meeting before the debate.
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise addressed the media on Sunday, saying they appreciated the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Nkandla as there was now legal certainty on reports by Chapter Nine institutions, such as the Public Protector.
Unclear whether ANC MPs would be given free vote
However, Mbete said Parliament did not owe Madonsela an apology following the court ruling.
Tuesday’s debate on the removal of the president in terms of section 89 of the Constitution will culminate in a vote.
The motion has to be supported by at least a two-third majority of MPs.
Opposition parties are said to be calling for a secret ballot, however, Parliament said a secret ballot was only used when electing a president, speaker or deputy speaker.
It was unclear though whether ANC MPs would be given a free vote.
A free vote is when MPs are given the opportunity to vote according to their own conscience instead of according to an official party line.
Modise on Sunday said there would not be any influence over how MPs should vote.